Friday Coffee Chat (23)–To Blog or Not to Blog?

To Blog or Not to Blog?

This week on Friday Coffee Chat, I’m going personal, and I’m going to talk about blogging which I had never planned to do. I like that all of the chats I’ve hosted before are reader based rather than blogger based. I have friends that read my blog that are not bloggers, and I like them to be able to feel like they can chime in on any chat. I hope that they will feel like they can comment on this chat as well.

Some of you may know that I am looking for a job. It’s been a frantic search because I find myself in a situation where I need a job and sooner than later is almost a requirement for me. In the last few weeks I felt like I would have to give up blogging for fear of a company that I applied to Google searching my name and finding my blog. I don’t think that I post anything objectionable on my blog, but that is in the eye of the beholder. I do review some books in the fantasy genre that some people may find objectionable just because they are fantasy books.

I did read someone’s blog who posted about her sister moving to New York and needing to find a job. This was one of the instances where blogging was an asset to a person who was looking for work. It seems like it’s the exception to the rule though. In the last week, I read several articles about people getting fired for the content on their personal blogs. I want to give myself the best chance possible to find a job, and with all these stories coming out I feel conflicted about whether or not to continue blogging.

My search has roughly gone on for two months. I set an internal goal for myself to apply for ten jobs per week. So far, I have applied for 91 jobs since starting to keep track on my nifty spreadsheet. Of those, I have definitively been turned down by roughly a third the companies. I still have faith that by remaining optimistic and showing that if I continue to plug away, search, and apply for jobs my tenaciousness will pay off and an employer will take a chance on me. I just need that one chance.

On one hand, I feel like my blog is an asset. It shows that I have taken the initiative to do something for the last year and a half that I enjoy immensely and requires some thought and work. On the other hand, I don’t tell most of the employers that I apply for jobs with that I have a blog. It’s up to their HR department to find me through web searches. I am hesitant because someone may look at my choices of books to read and decide that I am not the person they are looking to hire. Maybe this is just me overreacting and feeling overstressed to find a job, but in reality I feel like this does happen to people who run personal blogs.

I am not in a position where I can stay unemployed for very long. I feel that I have a lot to offer a prospective employer if given the chance. For so many years I have settled in my life, and now I feel uncompromising about what I want in life. I have these goals and I am pursuing them like The Goonies pursued One Eyed Willie’s booty (yes, that is one of my favorite movies of all-time)! My question is, will blogging hurt my pursuit of my dream job?

I love blogging. I love the community. I miss posting reviews. I miss talking to people about books. I miss having regular Friday Coffee Chats. It is hurting my blog and me to not be as active in posting as I once was. Not as many people are commenting on my posts, and not as many people answer my Tweets on Twitter when I talk bookish things. I know that I am taking a risk even posting about my job search and my questioning whether or not I should continue blogging, but here it is. Life is all about taking a few risks here and there. I want to know what you all think about blogging while job hunting.

  • Do you think there is a risk of being turned down for a job interview if you have a blog?
  • Thinking with your head and not your heart, what would you do if you were faced with the absolute need to have a job? Would you continue blogging?
  • Do you think that blogging can be an asset even if you are not searching for work in marketing or the publishing industry?

Guest Post #9–Sabrina from Germany Shares Her Book Read ‘Round the World Experience

World Map 6 (LoPC)

Lost on Planet China = Purple Pin
Journeying from Dresden, Germany to Alice Springs, NT, Australia
Distance Travelling = 8,768 mi / 14,110 km
Total Distance Traveled to Date = 29,917 mi / 354,111 km

Guest Post #9
Sabrina from Germany

Lost on Planet China is on the last third of its journey around the world. I can’t believe that its traveled 350,000+ km! That just seems crazy!

Sabrina from Thinking About Loud in Germany has sent her package to Amanda from Desert Book Chick in Australia so it’s time to post Sabrina’s guest post. Sabrina posts some amazing book reviews and also had a short series of posts about her green thumb that were really fun to read. She also occasionally posts recipes on her blog. Make sure you head over to visit Thinking About Loud after you read her guest post!


What did you get in the package you were sent?

I got very many, very amazing things from Julie. First of all I got a surprise, because Julie sent me a book via the Book Depository which arrived before her own package. The day I found it in the mail my first thoughts were. “But I did not order it!” When I found out who and why sent me this I was very pleased. I got Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Julie told me in her letter that it was set in Ringgold, GA, which is the town she lives in. I already heard good things about this book and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.


Julie also sent me some yummy moon pies, which are a very Southern snack invented in Chattanooga, TN, which is a railroad town and that is why she sent me the Chattanooga Choo-Choo tag, to give me an idea of Southern America. I also got a reusable shopping bag and a bookmark with a quote from Lincoln. Both items are in constant use now.



What were the questions you were asked?

1. Who would you consider to be your favorite German authors?

To be honest, I have not read very many contemporary German authors lately which actually is a shame. But book blogging and Shelfari both provide very many great book suggestions of American or English authors, which I enjoy to read. Still I have a few recommendations. First of all I love Leonie Swann. Her book Glennkill has been translated into English and can now be found under the title Three Bags Full. Other than that I’d like to recommend Blindness of the Heart by Julia Franck.

2. I’m a HUGE fan of German food. What is your favorite German meal?

This is a tough one. I love food and to narrow it down to one meal is nearly impossible. ;-) But as it is very typical for Saxony, the state I come from, I would go with Saxon potato soup. Typically all the ingredients like potatoes, carrots, leek and celery are cooked together. When this is done the vegetables are mashed/pureed and some wieners or other sausages are added. The mashed soup and sausages are served with bread. Delicious, especially when it is cold outside.  

What was your experience shopping for the next person on the list? Did you fret about what to get? Were you uncertain as to what you thought would be an interesting gift from your country?

I was pretty sure that I wanted to send Amanda things that had either got to do with Germany or books or better both. On the other hand of course I was very unsure about what Amanda would like. So I strolled around town eyes open for bookish German things, in the end picking what I thought to be pretty, useful or representative.

Write a one to two sentence review of the book -- just for fun. I want to see if you can do it!

Next to being entertaining the book was very informative as I learned about China’s people, history, economy and environment. If you ever wondered why Mao had let the Chinese kill sparrows during Cultural Revolution or what happened to the Baiji, the Yangtze River dolphin or which color the air pollution in different Chinese cities has, you should read this book.

I loved participating in this event. I enjoy reading the posts of all the other participants and especially which treats they received from the person who sent them the book. I think it is a great idea to get to know fellow book bloggers. 

Guest Post #8–Julie from the USA shares her Book Read ‘Round the World Experience

World Map 5 (LoPC)

Lost on Planet China = Purple Pin
Journeying from Ringgold, GA, USA to Dresden, Germany
Distance Travelling = 4,733 mi / 7617 km
Total Distance Traveled to Date = 21,133 mi / 34,010 km

Guest Post #8
Julie from the USA

Julie from Book Hooked Blog in Georgia, USA sent her package onto Sabrina from Thinking About Loud in Dresden, Germany so it is time to share Julie’s guest post about her experience in Book Read ‘Round the World. Julie has some of the funniest pictures of her love of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series and also has some super cute and HUGE Great Dane puppies that she features on her blog now and then. She also features bookish crafts from time to time. Make sure you check out her awesome blog after you finish reading her guest post.


What did you get in the package you were sent?

Judith (Leeswammes’ Blog) sent me the most amazing package of items from the Netherlands! She sent a reusable shopping bag, cocktail sticks with her country’s flag, a booklet of bookmarks, a map, beautiful napkins, and decals that I can use in my crafting, and a copy of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is set in the Netherlands.

What were the questions you were asked?
1. What is the thing that makes you most proud of Georgia?
  • How we’re known for being friendly. It could apply to most of the Deep South, but I love that people talk to strangers, leave their doors unlocked, and wave at their neighbors.

2. It seems that houses near you don’t have gardens. Is that quite standard? Do you have a fence to demarcate your plot?
  • In my neighborhood, not many people have large gardens.  We live fairly close to town, so most people just do a few small flower beds in front of their houses.  My parents also live in GA, but further out in the country.  A lot of their neighbors have vegetable gardens.  I don’t know anyone who has a large flower garden though.  We don’t have a fence to mark our property line.  We want to put one up, but just to contain the dogs; we won’t fence in the entire yard.  Only one of our neighbors has a fence, and they’ve only got a small one for their dogs and children.
What was your experience shopping for the next person on the list.  Did you fret about what to get? Were you uncertain as to what you thought would be an interesting gift from your country?
I wanted to make sure I got something for Sabrina that represents not just the USA, but also the American South. I’m ridiculously proud of being Southern, so I wanted to make sure that my package gave Sabrina a good idea of what it means to live in the American South. I had a blast deciding what to send!

Write a one to two sentence review of the book -- just for fun. I want to see if you can do it!
I loved the book.  When I was growing up my parents were missionaries and my dad spent quite a bit of time travelling to China.  I loved reading in the book about Xi’an and other places he visited, but I also enjoyed learning some of the history of China that I didn’t know.  It really highlighted to me how much I need to learn about the country, particularly the Cultural Revolution.

Thanks to Julie from Book Hooked Blog for participating in Book Read ‘Round the World! You can read Julie’s full review of Lost on Planet China on her blog. Make sure you check back soon for Sabrina from Thinking About Loud’s guest post (Secret: She has already sent the book onto Amanda from Desert Book Chick in Australia so her post should be up sooner rather than later).

Friday Coffee Chat (22)–Big Box Blunders

Is Big Box Reading in Danger?

Last week on Friday Coffee Chat I asked readers whether or not they were in book clubs. Most of you said that you would do a book club or were already in one (or even two). I thought that was a pretty interesting conversation because I expected more people to be solitary readers. Make sure you check to see if Jennifer from Girls Gone Reading put up a chat this week. If not, check out one of her awesome book reviews!

Chachic from Chachic’s Book Nook is also posting a discussion called “A Writer Only Begins a Book. A Reader Finishes It.” Make sure you head over to her blog as well after you finish here. Should be a great discussion!


This week I wanted to explore the bookish news. By now everyone knows that Borders is on the verge of filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. For those of you that don’t know, Chapter 11 is the bankruptcy filing for reorganization. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation filing (like Circuit City and Linens n’ Things filed several years ago and are no longer in business). So, Borders is looking at reorganizing the company in hopes to save itself and pay off its creditors. To do this, they are thinking of closing between 150-200 stores to lessen its debt load. Barnes & Noble is also having its own financial troubles (though it is currently much better off than Borders) as is Waterstones in the UK. I won’t bore you with all the details. If you are interested in reading some articles, here are a few:

Most bloggers I know prefer buying from indie stores and might be applauding the demise of big box reading. I myself try to buy from independent bookstores as well, but I also admit that I do buy from Borders and Amazon as well. When this story broke that Borders was likely to file Chapter 11 this week, I have to say that I got a little sad. While big box stores have been the bane of existence for many passionate readers, I couldn’t help but think that if more bookstores close, there is less opportunity for people to become readers. I admit that I even like browsing the big box stores because they have SO many books (There….I said it! I like going into big box stores!). Also, many smaller towns may only have a Barnes & Noble or a Borders and without it, their browsing would either be confined to the internet or driving to another town/city to be able to browse physical books.

People may say that if it weren’t for the big box stores that there would be more choice of independent bookstores to go to. That may be true, but at this point it’s sort of water under the bridge. It’s already happened so the only thing that we can do as a society is to change our policies to limit oligarchical business practices. We as a society may also need to rethink how much we are willing to pay for books to keep bookstores running. I know, I know…I am asking people to fight the Law of Supply and Demand. However, if we want more options with independent bookstores, we should be willing to pay higher prices. I am guilty of not buying books unless on sale or if I have a coupon. Only recently was I more loyal to independent bookstores. I even utilize the library quite a bit now to save money. I think most of us are guilty of doing those things because it is in fact The Law of Supply and Demand. That’s why it’s a “Law” and not a “Hypothesis”. People are willing (and able for that matter) to buy more goods and services if they are offered at lower prices. That’s just a cold, hard fact.

I will admit that a huge reason why this problem of failing business is as bad as it is, is because of the extended recession that is occurring worldwide. People aren’t purchasing luxury items like books (*gasp* I know…I just called books a luxury item) because they are trying to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table. When they do seek out their luxury items, they look for them at a discount and end up at places like or (or .uk) because it’s so much cheaper than buying from an independent store. I have to say that I don’t judge those people for making those choices since I myself have made these choices. Our choices have had the unfortunate side effect of reducing our choices of places to shop—but it’s been out of necessity for many, and the big box stores are to blame as well. Poor business practices by Borders and B&N let gain a huge market share in the book industry which I believe is the majority reason why both stores are struggling as much as they are (I can’t speak for Waterstones as I just heard about them for the first time several months ago).

So what is the solution to help failing bookstores? Should we be happy that big box stores aren't doing as well as they have in previous years and hope that this will mean a resurgence of independent bookstores? Do you think the book industry as a whole will suffer as a result of lagging sales or is it bound to make a comeback? I am not sure about the answers to these questions, but I do feel a little bit sad that it's possible that there will be less bookstores in my area to choose from in the very near future. I love reading and feel a sense of camaraderie when I see another person with a book. Even though some may hate the big box bookstore, I ultimately just want to see people reading and hope that we will still have a choice to go to brick-and-mortar stores in the future.

So, the questions for this week are:
  • Are you a big box buyer or a bargain shopper (used, library, discounted books, etc.) or a champion of independent bookstores?
  • What do you feel about the likely closure of 150-200 Borders bookstores across the U.S., or if you are from another country, how would you feel if that happened with your local big box bookstore?
  • What would you like to see happen in the retail book industry when the economy recovers? Be utopian or realistic…just tell me what you think!
  • Do you think the closure of big box stores will hurt future readers? Will we be less likely to read as a society or are we just moving toward newer technology like e-books?

Bayou Moon–Ilona Andrews

Book:  Bayou Moon (Book 2: The Edge)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
447 pages
My Rating:
4 stars

Cerise Mar lives with her family in an area of The Edge called The Mire. The family owns a lot of land but doesn’t have any money to their name. They also have an ongoing feud with a rival family, The Sheeriles. When Cerise’s mother and father are kidnapped and the Sheeriles family takes over a chunk of the Mars land, Cerise is thrust into the unenviable position of head of the family. She must figure out how to find and get her parents back from whoever kidnapped them, and also take her family’s land back from the Sheeriles. William, a soldier from The Weird who is a changeling enters the picture and decides to help Cerise on her quest to find her parents and get revenge on whomever kidnapped them. His reasons for helping Cerise are not entirely what they seem. A tangled web of adventure and cunning enemies ensues and leaves the entire Mars clan and William in danger.

A few months ago I reviewed On the Edge, Book 1 of the The Edge series. In it I said I thought it was ok, but did not live up to the awesome Kate Daniels series also written by Ilona Andrews. Well, hold on to your seats because Bayou Moon was SO much better! I kind of knew it was going to be as soon as I realized that William was one of the main characters in the book because he was by far my favorite from On the Edge. There was a roughness and sense of honesty about him that made him a very sympathetic character in the first book. I was not let down in this book at all. William brought all his awesomeness to the table, and Cerise is just as tough as Kate Daniels. Between the two of them they made this book an extremely fun read.

Cerise is such a no-nonsense character. She is tough as nails and has a mouth to match. She’s a very strong woman which I really enjoy in books. I don’t think there is enough of them in novels (although I do recognize the need for all kinds of characters in fiction). She and William exchange some witty banter and Cerise shows that she’s no slouch in fights. She is smart, tenacious, and a good leader for her family as well. What’s not to like?!

The plot of Bayou Moon was also more engaging than the first book. There was much more action and less fairytale romance. Both Cerise and William are shaped by their pasts and both are less than perfect. I like flawed characters because they are usually inevitably more likable. There is also a very insidious antagonist named Spider who kept me turning the pages. Spider and William have a storied history so the entire book builds up the suspense and climax fairly well.  There is more fighting, more witty banter, and good depth to the characters. All of these things combined to form a really fun and engaging read. The fun and fast pace was exactly what I needed! It was definitely worth reading On the Edge just to get to Bayou Moon, and I’m looking forward to the next installment of the series.

*Notice of Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Books.

**I am a Book Depository and IndieBound afilliate so If you purchase any of the books I have featured through the links I posted or from the banners in my left hand sidebar, I get a small commission from them. I am in no way compensated for the reviews I post of my books.
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